Entrepreneur

Not Even 23, These Enterprising M’sian Uni Students Already Own A F&B Distribution Service

Back when I was in university, all I could think about was making sure each assignment is handed in on time, and that I make it to all, if not most, of my lecture classes. Talk to me about starting a business and I would have probably laughed at the idea.

But not Ryan, Nee Hui and Saintlavin. They chose to juggle studies and their business at the same time instead.

Nee Hui spoke to Vulcan Post about the venture between the 3 Monash University students which started out as an idea, further fuelled by their passion to become entrepreneurs. He said, “One fine night, as we were having our usual late night tea sessions, we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cold coconut to drink right now?’”

They took that single thought and researched it, learning the economics involved in the beverage industry and meeting suppliers, all while they are still in school. That passion finally gave birth to PALMS Malaysia, a coconut water venture helmed by the fast friends.

Refreshers On The Go

Image Credit: PALMS Malaysia
Image Credit: PALMS Malaysia

PALMS Malaysia is coconut water sourced from local coconuts and each bottle is 500ml in size, which is roughly the liquid content from 2 fresh coconuts. The coconut water does not contain any added sugar or preservatives and each bottle is sold for RM8.

These bottles are currently available at Flycycle Fitness Center, GreyskyMorning café and Polpetta Café. Online orders and deliveries can be made in Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, and Bandar Sunway. Besides that, the team occasionally participates in bazaars and events where their drinks are sold.

The team handles the distribution, online marketing, social media pages, creative designing, accounting, and event management aspect of PALMS, leaving the squeezing and filling of bottles to their dedicated suppliers.

Learning As They Build

Image Credit: PALMS Malaysia Facebook
Image Credit: PALMS Malaysia Facebook

Having managed the business for several months now, the 3 young entrepreneurs have gotten a taste of what running a business is like.

What they have learnt throughout the process of entrepreneurship is to constantly seek guidance, feedback and mentorship from experienced people in the field to give them clarity in what they’re doing right or wrong. On top of reading lecture notes, the team also keeps a constant eye out for any coconut related business around them in order to learn from their trade.

“It’s the diversity of people, both in work and in support that makes PALMS the brand it is,” Nee Hui said. Spending so much time together on and off campus, they have learnt that communication is key.

Nee Hui shared, “We always try to put ourselves in each other’s shoes. From there we form a balance of compromise and reliance on each other. This not only strengthens our bond, it also gives us the wiggle room needed to achieve both our business and academic goals. We seek help when needed and applied all the advice so we’re able to overcome any rough patches.”

Being Young Is No Excuse

Image Credit: PALMS Malaysia

Considering how all the founders, and their creative designer Jaymie Tan, are below the age of 22, they demonstrate that age truly does not matter when it comes to starting your own business. In fact, if anything, being young allows them room to grow, learn, fail and repeat the process to achieve their own version of success.

“We first gathered our strengths and determined what best suited our roles. We then took a look at how our strengths can benefit in our duties. We even learnt from the bazaars in our school!” Nee Hui added eagerly.

The trio takes what they have learnt thus far in college and figures out how to apply it to their venture. Knowledge is their greatest asset and being in the education fields of management and international business, accounting and finance, as well as medical chemistry has helped them out in one way or another.

With their families giving them the support that they need to continue doing what they do, they might even plan to dive head first into the startup upon graduation. Nee Hui noted, “With luck, we’re all in for this! We have a unanimous goal for this company that we won’t rest till we reach it!”

Feature Image Credit: PALMS Malaysia

 

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